By Jake Donovan
Most fighters cringe when the dreaded R-word (retirement) is mentioned, to the point of insulted that anyone dare suggest the end is near.
Miguel Cotto is forever a realist, which has always made him unlike most fighters. The former three-division champ returns to the ring this weekend, facing Delvin Rodriguez in his first fight in than 10 months. The bout was inked with the knowledge that he wouldn’t have very many left in his career, regardless of how Saturday’s affair in Orlando turns out.
“A couple more fights and then it will be over,” Cotto (37-4, 30KO) predicted when broached with the subject during a recent conference call to promote this weekend’s bout, which airs live on HBO.
The scheduled 12-round bout with Rodriguez marks the first time Cotto–who has lost two straight–fights in Orlando, to where he relocated in recent years and normally reserves as his training headquarters. For this particular bout, wildly popular Puerto Rican headed west to train in Hollywood with renowned cornerman Freddie Roach, in efforts to avoid distractions for what will be treated as a joyous homecoming this weekend.
Saturday’s affair in the heavily Puerto Rican-populated region could be the closest his fans will see to a true homecoming before his career comes to a close.
“I don't really know, but I don't have too much time left, and I don't think any of them can be in Puerto Rico,” Cotto admitted when asked during an ESPN Sportsnation chat if his final fight would take place in his birth land.
Cotto’s last fight in Puerto Rico was a stoppage win over Oktay Urkal in March ’07, when he was an undefeated 140 lb. titlist. He remains an active promoter in La Isla Encanta, which serves as headquarters and the location of choice for the majority of shows presented by his self-named Promociones Miguel Cotto.
Overall, Cotto enjoyed 10 pro fights in Puerto Rico following his tour as a member of the island’s Olympic boxing squad in the 2000 Sydney Games. His first fight in Puerto Rico came in his 4th pro fight, the only time in which any of his homecomings went to the scorecards.
His homeland served as the site of his first major title win, claiming a vacant 140 lb. belt with a stoppage win over Kelson Pinto in Sept. ’04, avenging a previous amateur loss in the process.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.